It's no secret that Google is eyeing the wireless auction of the 700Mhz band. But what about Apple? Sources say they are considering entering the bidding, although they are currently leaning against doing so. Not because the cost itself, but more because of the mess they could be getting into.
Dubbed "beachfront property" by the Federal Communications Commission, it's the last swathe of wireless spectrum likely to become available that would have the attributes necessary for a new mainstream broadband network. Signals at the 700Mhz spectrum, for example, could provide far faster Internet access than today's cellular or even Wi-Fi networks, and the signals can easily pass through buildings and work glitch-free, even in lousy weather.
The risk for Apple is in entering the generally low-margin,
hardscrabble world of running a massive-scale network. Rather than
focus all of Apple's entrepreneurial instincts on creating the next
innovative gizmo, the company would be on the hook for the massive
operational headaches that go with provisioning traffic, activating new
subscribers, and fielding their angry calls when service glitches occur.
It certainly would be a more interesting auction if there was another high-profile bidder involved in the auction than just Google. And Jobs, based on comments he's previously made, doesn't think much of carriers. You can bet he'd love to get rid of AT&T - if he could.